Thursday, December 30, 2010


This is the time of year that people often go on vacations for the holiday season. Wonderful trips are planned, suitcases are packed and people fly or drive away to fantastic destinations.

For people who have lost children I have found that they have often have one of three different reactions to vacations and traveling...

1. The families absolutely do not go anywhere that they did go with that child. We just can't go to the same places we had been with DJ--too many memories, too many triggers, too much pain connected to these fabulous places. We used to travel around every six months especially to the Florida Keys but now I can barely imagine going somewhere that DJ has been. Our youngest son Jake has gotten robbed by this development but it is what it is and we are trying to go other places with him.

2. The families leave town all the time. I know many families that just cannot stand to be alone in their home too much and travel and travel and travel. Their houses are quiet and empty and staying in the home too long is unhealthy for them. They need the diversions, the change of pace, the new locations that are not connected with their child. They chose to be gone a lot, they chose to make new memories with their remaining children and family members.

3. The families flat out don't go anywhere at all that is not required. I have interviewed families that do not like to travel at all and find their comfort in their homes. They feel the safest surrounded by their things and the things of their child. Many people I interviewed ended up changing jobs after their children passed away--they just couldn't fathom leaving town and traveling for their jobs anymore. Often familes that have lost children don't even like going out to dinner with friends, they find comfort in their homes and that is where they try to stay the most. So traveling doesn't just need to be going far away on a trip it can be going to the neighbors for coffee.

If you have friends that have lost children and you ask them to dinner or to an outing, again and again and they just don't show up--don't give up or take it personally. Most likely their comfort is in their home, or they just aren't ready yet. It has been 5 Christmases for us since DJ passed away and we are just barely saying Yes to people--it takes time, it takes strength. There is no time schedule and everyone is different--be patient, be kind, be understanding or be gone. (yes that was harsh but we as parent's that have lost children often don't have the energy to help others understand our pain sometimes--that is why I blog)

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